Hommage to Ani Seunam Ouangmo
In the autumn of 1987, I met Ani Seunam Ouangmo at the Kagyü-Ling monastery in Bourgogne. A three-year retreat was coming to an end and the rituals had a quality which I have hardly found since.
In the road which led me to this place, reading, studying philosophy, etc... things were always presented in the context of other times, other cultures, and I could only languish with a feeling of its inadaptablilty for the modern world.
There, however, it was here and now; in the country in which I lived, with people who spoke the same language and shared the same world.
A particular connection was established with this woman and her qualities immediately gave me the confidence to which I aspired.
As the years went by, our relationship saw the progress and difficulties of each of us, running the span of all states of being human.
Her tragic departure from the place where, for almost twenty years, she was extensively and intensively trained in Tantric Buddhism and her later cutting off of all communication connected to her departure for retirement for life, deeply marked my path. These are lessons, some of which are still difficult for me to swallow.
After an untimely refusal and rejection, taking back the helm with independance and autonomy, little by little I realised that this relationship, even with its catastrophic aspects, was a reference point for me and one of the finest there is.
Thanks to constructive criticism and assiduous practice, little by little certitude and determination were reborn and true Dharma took root.
To one who has marked my heart and my path, and to whom I owe a great part of the little skill and knowledge I have, I pay hommage without reservation.
Seunam Ouangmo, by your intransigence and your severity, my disorganised and chaotic mind has acquired order and discrimination. The influence of the lineage of practice, despite my dark and rebellious mind, has finally seeped through the door which you consented to be.
I complain of difficulties it caused me, but today when I sometimes think of those difficulties, I think I caused you even worse ones. And yet, up until the last moment, and despite your own mistakes and strayings, your scruples to guide me at best prevailed.
May the praises of the worst of disciple of this era reach your ears, Seunam Ouangmo, over the distances and the separation.
The bearded artisan of Mérite et Patience